Friday, December 21, 2007

Another day, another fancy dress costume


Apparently there are uniform requirements for Sixth Form after all: for example, on the last day of term before Christmas,you must wear fancy dress. Which, in this house, means Mum must get creative on the sewing machine again... So here we have our West Country Squaw, Anna, kitted out for school, as photographed by her proud Dad. Mum (me) was fast asleep, trying to recover.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jardin Majorelle

A short caleche ride from Jma el Fnaa is the extraordinary gardens created by Jacques Majorelle, which were rescued from decay and lovingly restored by Yves St Laurent. Trees provide shade from the heat of the day and high perimeter walls shut out the clamour of the city. It is very different from the English style of garden: there are these wonderful cacti and succulents mulched by gravel, in a bewildering range of shapes, shades and forms.

Then there is that essential ingredient of the Arabesque/Moorish garden: water, in the form of ponds, fountains and rills, the splashing and the condensation adding to the cooling effects of the tree-given shade.

A garden is not a garden without some flowers, and these all featured at Majorelle in October.

Finally, there is another ingredient that makes Majorelle unique in itself: the rich cobalt blue that runs through the garden on painted masonry and woodwork, which has been named after the artist and the garden: Majorelle. This is certainly an oasis I would return to: a little piece of paradise on earth.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Anyone for Tea?

One of the great pleasures of life in Morocco was Moroccan Tea. or mint tea. It is served always in an ornate silver teapot, complete with server to protect your fingers, on a matching mat. The tea is usually sweetened in the pot, and may be poured from a great height with great ceremony and loud ullulations (if taken in J'ma El Fnaa at one of the evening food stalls) into tea glasses. It is served less extravagantly in other settings. It is, without doubt, one of the two most refreshing drinks there. The other is citronade, freshly prepared. A clse third is the freshly squeezed orange juice which is also ubiquitous but may be adulterated with water and/or sugar, and almond milk is also delicious but less refreshing. I also tried avocado milk shake for the novelty and rather enjoyed it. However, for me the tea won every time. On one occasion we were offered it in a shop within the Souk de Teinturiers, where we had gone to buy various items like henna and pigments. We were all suffering from poorly tummies and this tea came with added aniseed, which was immensely soothing. We came home with our own teapot and set of glasses so the question is, do I make my own tea server and mat as illustrated above?
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Cats in the Casbah

Here is a small selection of the many photographs taken of the feral cats in Marrakesh. My eldest and youngest between them took photos sufficient for at least four editions of Medina Moggies calendars. Cats own Marrakesh. These ones deign to share the courtyard of the Musee de Marrakesh with its human visitors, but they kept a close eye on our behaviour, sometimes undercover.
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